We hear from the men and women at the front of the class about what inspired – and continues to inspire – them to take up teaching. Here’s the view from the staff room at Packwood Haugh School…
Sarah Boutwood (Head of Music)
What motivated you to take up teaching?
I have been interested in teaching for as long as I can remember – my dolls and teddies were frequently made to attend my lessons and I remember teaching my younger sister the piano when I was about eight and had just started lessons myself. I don’t know how much she learned or enjoyed the lessons but I took it very seriously! I also used to help with the Sunday School at my church when I was a teenager and discovered I really enjoyed it.
What brought you to your school?
My previous job was at an independent day school in the North East where I was a Year 3 class teacher and Music Co-ordinator. It was a lovely place to live and work – I had a sea view out of my classroom window for several years – but I moved to Packwood so that I could focus fully on teaching Music. I haven’t regretted my move; Shropshire is very different from Northumberland but an equally beautiful county.
And what keeps you at your school?
In no particular order…
- My colleagues, who are very tolerant when I need extra choir or orchestra rehearsals
- The beautiful setting, both within the school grounds and in Shropshire in general
- The variety and satisfaction of my job
- The excellent school food, including the frequent supply of cakes in the staffroom
- Being within striking distance of the Lake District for fell walking – my husband and I are working our way through all 214 Wainwrights!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The variety is enormous. Some days I find myself going directly from a pre-prep singing lesson to a choir practice with selected Years 6, 7 and 8, many of whom are around Grade 5 or 6 singing. Equally, I enjoy running and arranging music for beginners’ ensembles (small groups of random instruments, none above Prep Test), the Chamber Orchestra (some working at Grade 7) and everything in between. I get real satisfaction from seeing children enjoying and noticeably progressing with their music, whether in rehearsals, individual lessons, concerts, church services or exams.
And the biggest challenge?
Remembering that music is just one of a huge number of aspects of school life and working around that.